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Health Services

ALCOHOL

General Information

  • The active ingredient in alcoholic drinks is ethyl alcohol - a depressant.
  • Alcohol multiplies the depressant effect of sedatives. Taken with sleeping pills or tranquilizers, alcohol can kill you.
  • Alcohol abuse is drinking so much that you become drunk.
  • Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol. An alcoholic craves alcohol.
  • There are 4 types of alcoholic beverages
    • Beer: Contains 3-6% alcohol.
    • Wine: Contains 12-14% alcohol.
    • Fortified wine (e.g., sherry, port): Has alcohol added and contains 18-20% alcohol.
    • Liquor: (for example, Scotch, rum, bourbon, vodka): Contains 40-50% alcohol, which is expressed as degrees of proof. A liquor's alcohol content is half its proof. Therefore, an 80-proof liquor is 40% alcohol.
  • Unlike food, alcohol does not need to be digested.
    • It is absorbed directly into the bloodstream in the small intestine and the stomach.
    • Through the bloodstream, alcohol reaches every organ and tissue of the body, slowing the activity of the cells.
    • Your body processes alcohol at the rate of approximately 1/4 to 1/2 ounce (the alcohol in 12 oz. of beer or 5 oz. of wine) per hour.
    • The liver processes the greatest portion, and the remainder is excreted by the kidneys, lungs, and sweat glands.
  • As many as 70% of Americans drink alcohol socially, mostly during meals and social occasions. These drinkers seldom, if ever, get drunk.
  • The majority of alcohol abusers are beer drinkers. Just because you don't drink the "hard stuff" doesn't mean you're not abusing alcohol.
  • If you can't handle life without drinking, you may be an alcoholic - even if all you drink is beer.
  • Most people can take an occasional drink and never become alcohol-dependent.
    • Some fall into a pattern of drinking just to make it through the day.
    • Others get drunk at certain times of the day or week, or only on weekends.
    • Others stay drunk all the time.
  • Binge drinking (having more than 5 drinks at one sitting) is common with high school and college students.
    • Binge drinking floods the body with more alcohol than it can safely handle until it starts to shut down body functions, including the heart and lungs.
    • Respiratory failure, coma and death can result from too much alcohol taken too quickly.
    • Binge drinking can kill you the first time you do it.
  • Abusing alcohol is not cool, manly, tough, or smart. It is deadly.

 

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